As was recently announced in the New York Times, DC Comics is rebooting Wonder Woman, with a new costume, new back story, and new “urban” attitude. This is only the latest chapter in the company’s long history of trying to figure out exactly what to do with one of their flagship characters, and seems to me like a profoundly missed opportunity, since the potential for Wonder Woman could be better now than at any time since her creation.
When William Moulton Marston first sold Max Gains on the idea of Wonder Woman, it was as a character who would be for girls what Superman was for boys. Of course, the argument can be made that what she really was was the projection of Marston’s fantasies, as much as Superman was the projection of Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster’s. And Marston’s stories certainly were bizarre; with their themes of dominance and submission, combined with H. G. Peter’s quasi Art Nouveau illustrations, they never quite fit into the same world as Superman, Batman, and the rest of what was to become the DC universe.